The future of the automobile was sealed at North America’s biggest auto show this week, where all of the hottest new cars and concepts had extension cords. Any idea that ethanol or hydrogen will lead us past petroleum was tossed out the window, as the big automakers — hobbled by a brutal economy, gyrating oil prices and humiliating congressional tongue-lashings — limped into the Detroit auto show. They all put on a brave face with the hybrids and electric vehicles they promise to start putting on the road next year.

“They’ve finally gotten a little religion,” says Chelsea Sexton, executive director of the EV advocacy group Plug-In America. “The auto industry is at the point where it has to invest in its future, and smart investors bet on the inevitable. Electric drive is inevitable. [via Wired]

Both Chrysler and GM went above and beyond merely achieving fuel-efficiency with the introduction of electric vehicles. They are rather attractive and don’t take on the disastrously innocuous jellybean silhouette of current hybrid vehicles. Why must things that are “green” also be “incredibly round”? Honestly, if hybrids looked like aerodynamically chiseled, muscular luxury cars at a more affordable price point, they’d fly off the shelves. After all, a research study  [The Perception of Automotive Designs @ DOI: 10.1007/s12110-008-9047-z] found that:

One-third of the subjects associated a human or animal face with at least 90 percent of the cars. . . Overall, people agreed which type of car possesses certain traits [and] liked cars most which had a wide stance, a narrow windshield, and/or widely spaced, narrow headlights. The better the subjects liked a car, the more it bore shape characteristics corresponding to high values of what the authors termed “power”, indicating that both men and women like mature, dominant, masculine, arrogant, angry-looking cars. [via ScienceDaily]

Some people like friendly cars. Unfortunately, I must confess that I am an “angry-faced car” lover and that I prefer my car to look like it could rip your car into shreds. Hopefully, EVs get reworked to look tougher. 

1. GM Chevrolet Volt (Production Model for 2010)
2. Chrysler 200C (Concept)
3. GM Cadillac Converj (Concept)
4. Chrysler Dodge Circuit(Concept)

Cheers for investing in a greener future (with sexy electric automobiles)!